By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
SHERIDAN, Wyo., January 15, 2021 — The top-ranked Sheridan (WY) Hawks (20-1-0-0, 40 pts.) have been a tough opponent in just their second season of junior hockey in the NA3HL’s Frontier Division. Only one team (Bozeman Ice Dogs) has managed to pull out a victory against the Wyoming-based Hawks. During their second game of the season back on October 3rd on the road in Bozeman, Montana, the Hawks fell 3-2 but have since racked up 19 straight wins and the best record in the 31-team North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) after 3.5 months.
Sheridan needed just four goals each night during their two-game road trip to the Great Falls Ice Plex last weekend to down the Great Falls Americans (16-9-1-0, 33 pts.) 4-1 and 4-3, respectively on Friday and Saturday.
The rosters are a little different than they were six days ago for both squads. Great Falls released two defensemen and one forward and a goaltender. Billings, Montana native and forward Patrick Crooks, who earlier this week was picked up by the Frontier’s Gillette (WY) Wild and defensemen Cody Benjamin and Max Jacoshenk. Goaltender Vincent Marroni is also gone from the team. Great Falls brought in netminder Hunter Burian from Princeton, Minnesota, who saw action in tonight’s game.
The Hawk sent Thomas Kuriscak packing after two wins last weekend. He was traded to the El Paso (TX) Rhinos, who play in the NA3HL’s South Division. Forward Derek Humphrey of Spokane, Washington was added to the team today.
The two teams met for their third meeting of the season on Friday in Sheridan’s Whitney Rink in the M&M Center.
The top-ranked Sheridan Hawks took a 5-1 lead into the second period to route the #2 Great Falls Americans 9-2 to maintain their Frontier Division lead in the NA3HL standings during Friday’s action in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Seventy-five seconds is all it took for the Hawks to rack up two first period goals. Derek Humphrey playing his first minutes for Sheridan, scored the first goal 30 seconds over Great Falls starting goaltender Trever Mellen. Nick Tigges took advantage of an opening and lit up the lamp 45 seconds later. Simon Herz, Jacob Cummings, Logan Syrup, Zach Brydges and Logan Syrup all collected assists on the first scoring plays of the contest. Jacob Cummings notched his 22nd goal of the season near the end of the first period off the stick of Jonathon Teasdale.
The home team stretched their lead to 5-1 during the first eight minutes of the period. Justin Schwartzmiller and Jacob Cummings provided the goals with Stepan Ruta, McCaffery Billings and Derek Humphrey earned the assists for Andy Scheib’s team. The visiting Americans took advantage of the power play and struck gold as Hunter Maschke’s sixth goal came with help from Bryson Fletcher and Tommy Janes to prevent the shutout. Sheridan accrued 52 shots while Great Falls put up 22 against the Hawks defense after two periods.
A Nick Silance pass to Bryson Fletcher early in the third stanza cut the deficit for the Americans to 5-2. Fletcher’s 11 goal came during the opening three minutes. The Americans would get no closer as a four-minute scoring surge added four more goals for the Hawks. Simon Herz, Luke Desmarais, Nathan Gilleshammer, and newcomer Derek Humphrey put in the goals. All four goals by Sheridan came off power play chances for the home team. Six different players accumulated the assists including two by Humphrey and one each by Blake Billings, Zach Brydges, Logan Syrup, Jacob Cummings, and Simon Herz.
Sheridan’s offense scored early and often and contributed 36 of their 88 shots after the second stanza. The Americans had a game-high of 13 shots in the middle period to finish with 29.
After a penalty-free first period, things got heated on the ice and two ejections were handed out (one by each team in the final period). Eleven penalties were issued in the contest that resulted in 67 minutes spent in the sin bin. All five power play opportunities were turned into goals.
Derek Humphrey had a solid effort in his debut with Sheridan. He scored twice and dished out three assists. Jacob Cummings scored twice and had two helpers and Simon Herz recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in the win. Bryson Fletcher for the Americans had a hand in both scoring drives with a goal and an assist.
James Downie’s 27 saves was enough for his ninth win in nine games. Trever Mellen was in the net for the first 75 seconds of the game that cost his team two goals and was pulled in favor of Hunter Burian, who gathered 78 saves in his first night with Great Falls.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans will try to redeem themselves as they face the same Sheridan Hawks in their final regular season meeting of the season on Saturday, January 16th with a 7:30PM (MST) start from Wyoming’s Whitney Rink in the M&M Center. Don’t miss any of the action with a HockeyTV subscription, the NA3HL’s streaming platform. Please click here If you would like more information about subscribing to Hockey TV (All Access).
Additional Media Coverage: January 15, 2021: 560AM-KMON: Weekly Radio Interview by KMON’s Randy Bogden with Great Falls Americans Head Coach Greg Sears every Friday morning. Click here to listen to the full interviews.